Early Sunday morning I sent out a text to the people that wanted to hike saying, "Looks like there is a band of showers coming through... What you guys think?" They left the decision up to me and I decided to go for it. In the back of my mind I thought we would be walking in the rain for most of the day which would be lousy. When I started driving to meet my buddy Matt I looked towards the mountains and that's when my mind changed about the weather. I could see peaks but it was still a little cloudy. It gave me hope that later in the day it would clear.
We staged a car at our exit point and drive back to our starting trail head which would be Palolo. We started to hike around 7:30 am thinking it would take us 12 hours. In the end it only took 9 hours. I planned to only hike with a liter of water to save weight going up to the summit. Before the summit there was a stream in which I would filter the water from. Using Matt's Camelbak All Clear we zapped the water with the uv light to kill all the bacteria in the water. I filled the first liter and boy was the water brown/red. The water comes from was bog. It didn't look appetizing but I had to fill because we had a long hike ahead. I test tasted the water and it tasted really metallic. We filled our Camelbak's and were on our way up the spur ridge. I knew that this would be one of the hardest throughout our hike.
We hit the summit and the summit was CLEAR!!!!! All our spirits were lifted and we got energized for what was ahead. After the ten minute break we pushed off to the next summit, Lanipo. The coolest and main feature on the way to Lanipo was a saddle. It wasn't bad for a saddle, nothing like the extreme saddles. When we dropped down into it we took some cool pictures looking towards town and the windward side. Looks like a good camp ground too! We ascended and reached the peak. This by far was my favorite peak out of all the others on that day. The summit had a nice grassy section, dry and had some good views of Piliwale and Konahuanui in the clouds. We stayed there for a good time before we started hiking again.
The next summit we were aiming for was Wiliwilinui. On the summit of Lanipo we could see the antenna where you pass on the way to Wiliwilinui. There is an in between peak which is called Waialae Nui. This section was a little overgrown but nothing we couldn't push through. The clouds also started to roll up and over from the windward side which made the ridge line look mysterious. Making our way there we hit some up and downs on the summit. There was one section with power line poles before we hit the summit of Wiliwilinui. When we hit Wiliwilinui the clouds seemed to part which in turn gave us nice views and a nice bench to sit on. This was when we started to feel it in our legs. It was lunch time when we hit this peak.
After a good half an hour and lots of drinking of red dirt water we decided to head to our next summit, Wailupe. I've never been to the summit of Wailupe either but since HTMC recently cleared a loop from Wailupe Valley to Wiliwilinui State trail, the summit crossing was relatively clear of any brush you had to push through (Thanks HTMC). Once we reached Wailupe I was already starting to complain. It's horrible but I knew from the beginning how long and how brutal this hike was going to be on my body. I knew that I could do it but still complained. Remember if you do this hike know your bail outs and know how much time it will take to complete it.
Coming down Wailupe our next peak and final peak was Hawaii Loa. I was dying to get there, and finish this hike. Katie was way ahead and blazing in the clouds while Matt and I were suffering. We saw a peak and I wasn't sure if it was Hawaii Loa but one could hope right? I was wrong. Then I thought it was next, but trying to discern peaks in the clouds was difficult. I saw the next peak and pleaded out loud, "Please let this be the last one!" Katie had already reached the summit and she was gone even before Matt and I got there. I took a couple sips of my nasty metallic water and saw one peak away over some people standing on it. I said, "That's the one!" I was relieved because it was just a few minutes away. I got my second wind and blew it all on the last peak knowing that I was done with the KST for the rest of the day. Katie waited at the top and the group that was there asked where we had come from. We told them Palolo and they were like WHAT!? Katie had one more peak to go to before she completed her South side part of the KST. I told her just tag the peak and come back. I knew she was tired but since we were up there she did it anyways. She tagged the summit of Kulepeamoa and returned within forty five minutes. Matt and I just watched the clouds roll in and out with views of Waimanalo.
On our way down Hawaii Loa I was glad it was nicely groomed and so happy I could spread my arms nice and wide and not have to worry about brush scratching me while walking. We got back to the car with lots of sunlight left, and went to Honolulu Burger Company to eat a nice juicy burger.
What I have left...
The last section from Pali to Makapu'u I need to complete is the notches to Konahuanui. I plan to do it before the end of the year weather permitting.
The whole Ko'olau's...
-Waikane to Waiau
-Waimalu to Redhill
-Stairway to Pali... I don't really plan on completing the Kalihi Saddle but it would be nice
That's what I have left, by the end of next year hopefully all of it with the exception of the Kalihi Saddle.
We started from here.
Gathered water and filtered it... notice how the water isn't too appetizing!
The cross over to Lanipo. Insane views!
The notch/saddle before hitting the summit of Lanipo
The climb before the summit of Lanipo.
Clouds rolled in as we hiked along the summit. Before Waialae Nui. Made for cool pictures.
Every so often we were greeted with gorgeous views of the windward side.
We still had a really long way to go... This is before the summit of Wiliwilinui.
Clouds cleared just before the summit of Wailupe
Matt and Katie enjoying the view
The final ascent to Hawaii Loa summit.
Looking towards town just below the summit of Hawaii Loa.
Almost finished from Ryan Chang on Vimeo.